Eric McElroy is an American pianist and composer who released his debut album, Tongues of Fire, in March 2023 on Somm Recordings. He wrote the songs to accompany poems from modern poets W.S. Merwin, Gregory Leadbetter, Grevel Lindop, Alice Oswald, and Robert Graves. The poems are sung by acclaimed English tenor James Gilchrist and McElroy performs on piano.

Eric McElroy at the piano and James Gilchrist preparing to sing in a sound studio
Eric McElroy and James Gilchrist

McElroy graduated from Washington State University and then continued his postgraduate education in Vienna and Oxford University.

In this episode, Washington State Magazine editor Larry Clark talks with McElroy about the new album, his creative process, poetry, walking, and his influences at WSU and beyond.


The music samples from Tongues of Fire featured in the episode:

  • The Nomad Flute – W.S. Merwin
  • After the Voices – W.S. Merwin
  • Statuary I – Gregory Leadbetter
  • Mirror and Candle – Grevel Lindop
  • A Short Story of Falling – Alice Oswald
  • A Dead Boche – Robert Graves

Read about McElroy’s debut album, Tongues of Fire, and more in the Fall 2023 issue of Washington State Magazine.

Tongues of Fire on Somm Recordings

Eric McElroy’s website



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